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How To Implement an SMS Ordering System

How To Implement an SMS Ordering System

An SMS ordering system offers a safer, faster, and more convenient way for customers to order from your restaurant.

SMS ordering services are increasingly popular. Customers appreciate a convenient and seamless experience—and text to order systems ticks both boxes.

Whether you operate a delivery-only service or a dine-in restaurant, SMS ordering software can help you adapt to the new “no-contact” environment stemming from COVID-19.

Not only will it keep your customers and staff safe, but orders through text message can also improve customer satisfaction. 

If you think that SMS ordering software is only for large chains with deep pockets, we’re here to tell you otherwise. It’s affordable and easy to implement, with our plans starting at $25/month.

Here are two ways you can implement a straightforward SMS ordering system, as well as how to get started.

1. Send Customers a Link to Place an Online Order

The simplest way to set up an SMS ordering system is to ask customers to text in a keyword to receive an automated message with a link to order online. (A keyword is a word, phrase, or other combination of numbers and letters that allows people to receive an SMS from you.)

If you don’t already use an online ordering solution, you can implement one like OrderStack. It integrates directly into your existing website and doesn’t take any commission on food and drink orders. 

The next step is to promote your SMS ordering system by advertising your keyword in your restaurant or social media. This promotion is even more essential if you plan on using text to order for takeout customers.

If you want dine-in customers to order by text, you can ask them to text in the keyword verbally. The best part is that we offer an easy to remember and restaurant-specific short code– 35344–for you to use.

In the SimpleTexting platform, it only takes a few minutes to set up a keyword and automated response. 

The first step is to create a keyword by selecting keywords from the left-hand panel.

Next, click on the blue button “Add keyword”:

The keyword in the example below is “CURRYHOUSE,” and it’s what customers will text in to 35344 to receive the online ordering link. You can update the automated confirmation message depending on whether you’re using it for dine-in customers or takeaway customers. We recommend that you shorten any URLs with our URL shortener.

Today 8:25 AM
CURRYHOUSE
What are we having? Place your order online, and we’ll start preparing it right away: http://txt.vg/MCSVPI. If you have any questions about the menu, call us at +1 858-270-9200 or respond to this text.

You can then follow the steps in this article to text your customers when their food is ready and keep them informed of their order details and status. 

An added benefit here is that you collect phone numbers that you can market to in the future with promotions and specials to grow your business. You can learn how the Barn Bowl & Bistro uses text messages for real-time marketing.

💡This video explains in more detail how to set up a keyword in more detail.

2. Ask Customers to Text in Their Orders

You can also ask customers to text you their orders so you can input them into your restaurant’s Point of Sale (POS) system. 

You can add texting functionality to your existing number so that you and customers don’t have to learn a new one. In this case, calls go through as usual, and text messages go straight to the SimpleTexting platform.

Alternatively, all SimpleTexting accounts also come with a text-enabled toll-free number if you’d prefer to use a separate number for your text messages.

Once again, the first step is to spread awareness of your text to order system. You can do this by adding a Click-to-Text Button to your website with a call to action like “Order Now.” 

The best part is that when someone clicks the button, it opens their native messaging app with a prewritten message and your phone number prepopulated. If you’re interested in adding a Click-to-Text button to your website, then we recommend reading this article.

The prewritten message could–for example–request your menu or special. You could then send people a link to a PDF. (Here is an article that explains how to send a PDF via an SMS message.)

Once people know what they want, they can text in their full order to your SimpleTexting inbox, and you can record it in your POS system.  

Today 3:30 PM
Thanks for your interest in Cumin, find attached our menu. Text us your order whenever you’ve made up your mind and we’ll get right on it.

Alternatively, you can advertise your SMS ordering system in your restaurant–or on your menu, as Sip Club has here.

It’s worth noting that the SimpleTexting inbox lets you prioritize conversations, make notes, and set up templates so that you never have to rewrite the same message twice. 

The latter is particularly useful for sending order updates and delivery process SMS notifications. If you’re dealing with a large volume of takeaway orders, you can also use it for customer service issues.

In this two-minute video, we cover the basics of how the inbox works:

How Do I Get Started With SMS Ordering Software?

The first step is to start your 14-day free trial. Our free trial comes with 50 outgoing text messages, unlimited incoming messages, full access to all our powerful features, and dedicated support 7 days per week. You can use your trial account to test out taking SMS orders.

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